Flipping Off a Cop – It’s Legal.

Written by Gregory Monte.

In a blog post from last October (Can a Cop Pull You Over for Cursing?) I discussed why the following three actions were legal:

  • Giving Middle Finger to a Cop
  • Cursing at a Cop
  • Cursing in Your Car (and a cop hears you)

In a later post from last November (The Police and Free Speech) I noted that the Monroe County Legislature in New York was seeking to change all of that – at least in its little neck of the woods: New Legislation Will Throw People in Jail for Disrespecting Cops—Seriously.

While I don’t recommend or encourage showing this type of disrespect to police officers, I do accept it as a fact of life that is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

In any case, the reason I bring it up again is because a Federal Judge in Virginia has upheld that right: Federal Judge Reaffirms Right To Flip Off Virginia Cops

You can read the details of the case at that link, but consider this one quote from the article:

So as Clark entered the passenger seat of his friend’s car, he saw deputies scrambling to follow him in their squad cars. As they left the parking lot, Clark decided to make the obscene gesture toward Deputy Rob Coleman, who was following close behind. Enraged, Deputy Coleman conducted the traffic stop that kicked off the long-running federal lawsuit over the twenty minute roadside detention. Deputy Coleman insisted that he stopped the car because he thought the finger was a sign of distress

I especially like that last line about the officer’s “explanation” of why he pulled Clark over.

And in case you still think that Clark was overreacting with his use of the middle finger, consider this testimony from Wendy Inzerillo who overheard the sheriff’s deputies talking:

“Brian [Clark] doesn’t know what we have in store for him … couldn’t wait to see his face when we take him down.”

I will definitely have to file this one in my Blog Posts by Category under “Judges Rule!” You can read about other situations where judges have done right by citizens by checking out the list below:

Free Resources

The Basic Speeding Ticket Defense

This is a 9 page review of the most basic way to beat a speeding ticket – even if you actually were speeding. This particular strategy will almost always work, but it does depend on one aspect of the circumstances surrounding your ticket.  For the strategy to be effective, there must be an issue with the speed limit signs, themselves. It’s all about the need of states/localities to comply with their “Obedience to Traffic Control Devices” statutes.

Click to Download the Free “Basic Speeding Ticket Defense”

Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation.

This is a seven-page, detailed explanation of my three-step method for challenging any traffic ticket. I use the “Driving at a Safe Speed” statute from Pennsylvania to illustrate this method, but it can be applied to any other statute that you might be cited for in the vehicle code.

In addition, no matter what state you live in, the procedure is the same: you need to understand the statute you allegedly violated, look for technicalities in that statute and (most importantly) find case law to support/reveal those technicalities.

Click to Download the Free “Applying the Traffic Ticket Defense Method to Challenge a Citation”

The Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell.

This is a one-page, eight-point summary of the strategy I discovered while researching ways of beating unfair stop sign tickets. It is specifically geared to Pennsylvania but can also be applied to most other states.

Click to Download the Free “Pennsylvania Stop Sign Defense Strategy in a Nutshell”

My Son’s Opening Trial Statement at the Court of Common Pleas.

This is an elegant, one-page, powerfully concise expression of my defense strategy.

Click to Download the Free “My Son’s Opening Statement for his Trial in the Court of Common Pleas, Wayne County, Pennsylvania”

The Brief – My Son’s Case Brief for the Court of Common Pleas

  • An eighteen-page argument for why an illegal stop sign is not enforceable.
  • Requested by the President Judge at Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas.
  • A highly distilled application of the Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense.

Click to Download the Free “Brief Prepared for Submission to the Wayne County, PA, Court of Common Pleas”


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